April 14, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s golf team is in first place after 36 holes at the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational. The Hawkeyes fired a two-round total of 556 (-20) at Finkbine Golf Course and lead Iowa State by four strokes heading into the final round.
Iowa led Iowa State by one stroke after the first 18 holes, firing a 282 (-6) in the first round of play. The Hawkeyes heated up in the afternoon, carding a 274 (-14) in the second round, which is the second-lowest 18-hole score in school history. Iowa’s 36-hole total of 556 is the fourth-lowest in school history.
“We had some nerves playing at home in the morning,” head coach Mark Hankins said. “The golf course is playing really fast and the greens are quick. We left a few shots out there. This afternoon we had some guys hit some real low numbers.
“It got real calm out here in the afternoon,” Hankins said. “It was almost the calm before the storm. Whenever it gets calm on a golf course, guys can dial in and make putts. Our guys are pretty well prepared and we had some guys shoot really well.”
Senior Chris Brant is tied for second place with a two-round total of 135 (-9), the second-best 36-hole score in Iowa history. He started the day with a first round 69 (-3). Brant began on the second hole and birdied the third, but followed with a bogey on eight. Four birdies and one bogey on the back nine gave him a 33, and he finished with a par on the first hole.
Brant shot the fourth-lowest 18-hole score in the Iowa record books in round two with a 66 (-6). He was bogey-free on the round, draining six birdies; three on the front and three on the back. He trails Iowa’s State’s Nate McCoy by two strokes for the individual lead.
“I gave myself a lot of opportunities,” Brant said. “I put the ball where I needed to in order to make birdies, and I made a lot of birdies. I left a few out there, but overall no complaints. I played well and took advantage of those opportunities.”
Senior Barrett Kelpin shot a 140 (-4) in the first day of action and is tied for sixth place. His 140 is the seventh-best 36-hole score in the Iowa record books. Kelpin carded a consistent round of even par (72) to start the tournament, tallying one birdie on the front nine along with two bogeys and a birdie on the back nine.
Kelpin tallied a 68 (-4) in round two, draining four birdies in his bogey-free round.
Freshman Ian Vandersee enters tomorrow’s final round tied for eighth place after carding a two-round score of 141 (-3). Vandersee provided the most excitement for Iowa in the first round, closing with birdies on five of his last six holes, including three-straight on the 17th, 18th and first hole to finish the first round at -1 (71).
Vandersee stayed hot to start his second round, dropping birdies on his first two holes. He gave back a stroke with a bogey on eight, but registered birdies on 11 and 12. The West Des Moines, Iowa, native finished strong once again, carding birdies on his final two holes for a 70 (-2).
“I hit it well all day,” Vandersee said. “I finally started seeing the lines on the greens and all of my birdie putts were inside of eight feet during that stretch. They started to fall at the end. When the putts start falling it really boosts the confidence.”
Freshman Joseph Winslow sits tied for 16th place with a 144 (Even). Winslow began his day with birdies on holes four and five. He recorded three birdies and two bogeys on the back nine for a 35 and tallied three pars to finish his first round at -2 (70).
Winslow started with a double on the fourth hole in the second round, but bounced back with back-to-back birdies. He shot even par on the back nine for a 74 (+4).
Sophomore Steven Ihm is also tied for 16th place after registering a 144 (Even). Ihm shot a 74 (+2) in the first round, carding a one-under 35 on the front nine. Ihm struggled at the start of the back nine, taking a double bogey on 13 and a bogey on 14. He rallied with a birdie on 15 but took another bogey on 17.
Ihm finished the second round with a 70 (-2). He had three birdies on the front nine, but hit a double bogey on hole nine. He then birdied 11 and rattled in seven-straight pars to finish.
Five Iowa student-athletes are also competing as individuals in the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational, led by senior Brad George, who is in fourth place with the fourth-lowest 36-hole total in Iowa history at 137 (-7).
George was only one stroke off the lead after the first round, carding a 68 (-4). He started on hole 10 and shot an even par 36 on the back nine. George heated up on the front nine, dropping in four birdies over the nine hole stretch.
In his second round, the Marion, Iowa, native had one birdie and eight pars on the back nine to start. He bogeyed one, but sank three more birdies for a 69 (-3).
“I was really relaxed,” George said. “I didn’t want to overswing today. I just let it go today and played really loose. It turned out I was able to shoot some pretty good scores.”
Senior Jed Dirksen is tied for 12th place with a 143 (-1). Dirksen put five birdies on his scorecard in the first round, but took a double bogey on 14 and three additional bogeys for the even par 72.
Dirksen shot -2 on the back nine and +1 on the front for a 71 (-1) in the afternoon.
Senior Jared Walahoski put up a 147 (+3) and is in 31st place. Walahoski’s first round 77 (+5) was highlighted by birdies on the 15th and 18th holes. He was one of only five players to birdie 18 in the first round.
Walahoski shaved seven strokes off his first round score, finishing round two with a 70 (-2). He carded five birdies in the afternoon.
Freshman Brian Bullington shot a two-round score of 148 (+4) and is tied for 37th place. Bullington had eight pars and a bogey on the back nine, followed by three bogeys and back-to-back birdies on six and seven for a first round score of 74 (+2).
Bullington had four birdies in his second round 74 (+2).
Sophomore Ryan Marks rounded out Iowa’s individual scoring in a tie for 44th place with a 150 (+6). In his first round, Marks recorded a 37 on the front nine, with birdies on holes two and five. He had a tough back nine, finishing with a 41 for a first round total of 78 (+6).
Marks improved by six strokes in the afternoon, carding a 37 on the front and a 35 on the back for an even par 72.
In the first round of play, Brant and Vandersee carded two of the five birdies on the par-4 16th hole. Vandersee also had one of only five birdies on the par-4 18th hole.
Vandersee and Brant both collected 11 birdies throughout the two rounds, which were the second most among the 60 competitors. George had 10 birdies. Kelpin led the field with 28 pars.
Final round action at the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational will begin Sunday morning with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Sunday’s final round will be 18 holes of play.
“The guys don’t need to be concerned about team scores,” Hankins said. “I’m going to show them the individual scores so they can see if they are in the appropriate position. These guys are striving to be the best in the tournament this week. Hopefully we will get a few of them up there at the top fighting for the victory tomorrow.”